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COF has encounter with man from Duluth

A great essay by The COF
From high above downtown Knifley or Knife-ly; either way, a beautiful, veritable paradise, located the center of the universe, the Eden of Planet Earth, District 6, Adair County, KY. (U.S. of A.)

This tale is a time in the telling. When you finish it I think you will understand why it took a while to go public!

Having some business on the square in Columbia, that quaint bedroom community of the Knifley metropolis, I mistakenly traveled without the confines and constraints of Miz Emily.

Having completed the task at hand, I decided to stop at Catfish Plus on the way home. As usual the place was crowded so I took my meal and headed to the picnic tables under the shade tree in back.

The only table that had space was occupied by a stranger who I immediately identified as not being from around here since he had those little pink envelopes scattered around his Ice Tea, but even worse he had a plate full of Chicken!

Now who goes to a catfish cabin and orders chicken? Sorta like moving to tobacco country and trying to make a cash crop of Rhubarb, or going across the street to Old Joe Barbees and ordering French Pastry it just aint done.

Well, to make a long story even longer, after we discussed the burning issues of the day, the weather, carbon offsets, quality of the hay, etc., he asked where I was from.

He gave me a quizzical look when I told him Knifley, gathered up his leavings and headed around front. After I finished my catfish and hushpuppies, I headed that way myself and saw the stranger bent over a map spread out on the hood of his little foreign car. He asked me again where I was from and when I repeated Knifley, he allowed as how he couldnt find it anywhere on his map.

Things then started to heat up a tad as he asked if it had a Post Office. I told him not since Keith decided to retire and closed Tuckers. He then queried about a school. I let him know that Knifley once had the finest educational institution in the State but jealous heads elsewhere decided that their younguns needed some tutoring so they closed our school and packed the local kids off where they could help educate the less fortunate.

The stranger then wondered if this Knifley had a bank. I told him that we had no need of one since Bakers and Crossroads kept an open book and the generosity of local folks took care of our own when someone had a need.

By this time, the fellas tone was starting to get me a little warm under the collar but he didnt read the signs.

I could tell he was skeptical that such a place existed. When he asked how to get there, I couldnt help myself. I told him to get some diving gear, enter the river at Holmes Bend and when he got to the bottom, head northeast and exit when he got to Arnolds Landing.

Not to be outdone, he pondered that since he would be under water how was he to know he had arrived at Arnolds Landing. Exasperated, I said: Heck Fire man, everyone knows thats where the biggest and best fish are and besides, you cant miss the underside of Arnolds boat for its sure to be in the vicinity whatever time you get there.

Seeming a little exasperated hisself, he waved his map around, slapped it back down on the hood and requested that I point out exactly where this supposed Knifley was. With my collar wringing wet and my glasses foggin up, I jammed my finger on his map and exploded: Right there is where Knifley is! At that he sticks his nose down on the map, squints real hard, slowly raises up an says: Oh, you mean KNIFE-LEE (yessir thats just how he said it Knife-Lee).

Now as I said, I was traveling solo & Miz Emily wasnt any wheres close-by so I ripped the safety valve off & let the steam fly You Ig-norant, Im-polite, In-politic son of a junk yard dog Thats Knifley sounds like Nifty.

Bout this time the tables, front and back had emptied and everyone had formed a circle round us waiting to see who wuz gonna swing first. But the stranger jest rocked back on his heels and allowed as how I should excuse him since he wasnt from around here.

At precisely this point, as if waiting for his cue, Doug Campbell (who Ive come to believe instigated the whole sorry affair), stuck his head out the diner window and hollers out:

Where are you from stranger?. At that point this fella looks me square in the eye and with a crooked grin says: Why you Crusty Ole Fool, IM FROM DULUTH!

Well slack-jawed cant begin to describe the look on my face. Im a fervent admirer of the late great RayWick native J. Proctor Knott and I knew immediately that my tail had not only been braided but this dude had tied it up in a big pink ribbon to boot.

While the assembly broke up in hee-haws and guffaws and more back slappin than youd see around the whiskey barrel on lection day, the best I could do as I climbed into my truck was to tell him he ought to stick around and run for county office since none of them cept Magistrate Joe Rogers & the PVA Willy Feese seem to know where Knifley is either.

It was a long, shameful ride back to Dun Roman & Miz Emily on a ridge high above beautiful downtown Knifley.

For those who might not be familiar with the illustrious Mr Knott, you can google : J. Proctor Knott and get his bio plus the infamous speech that led to COFs embarrassment.

This story was posted on 2007-08-22 11:23:48
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